MRTI Observations: USF2000 Royal Purple Grand Prix of Indy Race 2
For the second straight day in a row, the Mazda Road to Indy is entertaining the fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Powered by Mazda event was filled with dramatics.
At the front of the field, it was all Kyle Kirkwood as he took the lead from the pole and led all 20 laps en route to scoring his second victory of the 2018 campaign. Considering he entered the weekend with the points lead and now extended that gap, he has to be your early favorite for the title.
That said, a couple different things happen and you possibly could’ve seen someone else in victory lane. Alex Baron was able to match Kirkwood on pace, bettering him on multiple occasions, set to challenge him for the top step on the podium. However, contact with Jamie Caroline for second sent Baron around and down the running order to the tail of the field. ‘
Baron kept things entertaining as he drove from 20th to ninth by the time the yellow flag waved at Lap 11, before using the next seven trips around the speedway to move his way up to third by the next caution. A solid pass on the shootout at the end, and boom – he got a runner-up. You can’t complain about that considering where his day started.
Caroline, by the way, didn’t stop his involvement in incidents there either. He was determined to defend his runner-up position, and it ultimately cost him a lot more as he’ll end up 24th on the final rundown. It began with contact with Zach Holden, which ended Holden’s race as well, followed by contact with Kaylen Frederick that left Caroline with front-end damage and Frederick stuck in the gravel. It marks a double whammy for Frederick, though, as he ran into trouble on Saturday as well.
The incidents worked out wonderfully for Ramus Lindh, Darren Keane, and James Roe – whom each got through the chaos to score top-fives. Not a bad debut weekend in the series for Roe, or a rebound for Keane after placing 23rd in Saturday’s race.
While the race was exciting, the fans did get robbed in a sense by the series’ coverage of the action. For the one-lap shootout at the end, it would’ve been nice to see the battle for the win rather than Bruna Tomaselli’s car just sitting dead in the corner. But when you get the races streamed for free over YouTube and Facebook, can you really complain too much?
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